1 Eagleton Notes

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Mystery Solved

One of the problems with getting all your up to date news about the Island from a web-based news provider is that if you have no access to the internet you don't know what is happening.  There's no way the North of Scotland is going to make the Scottish TV news either at the moment because the only news is the Commonwealth Games.  So last night when I went onto Hebrides News I discovered why we had had no usable internet access.  

What irritates me is not that BT had the problem but that they didn't tell their call-centre staff so many people wasted lots of time getting false information and new routers which were completely unnecessary.  I spent 75 minutes whilst a very efficient and helpful lady in India did every test known to her and said there were no line faults that she could find (and who didn't patronise me when I told her that I'd done all the usual tests on my own equipment) before eventually referring the matter to a 'special unit' who would ring me back between 5 and 7pm the next day.  They usually do.  This time they didn't.  Black mark BT.  I've been a customer since the age of 26.  You won't lose me over this but you certainly lost a lot of brownie points.


Communications fault black outs internet and maritime radio  23/7/14

Some 3,000 island homes and businesses have been hit by a major communications blackout over the past two days.

Faulty equipment at BT’s mainland telephone exchange at Gairloch resulted in a very poor quality signal being transmitted over the main microwave link from the mainland to a receiver at Holm, by Stornoway, which feeds into the islands broadband network.

The parts of Lewis - mainly around the Stornoway area - served by BT were hit with many users having no service at all while others suffered slow broadband speeds over the period.

BT pledged the broadband network would be repaired by Wednesday night.

A BT spokesman said: “A faulty card in the telephone exchange at Gairloch has resulted in a degraded broadband service on the radio link to Stornoway.

“Around 3,000 broadband-users in the Western Isles are affected.

“A replacement card has been sourced and is being couriered to Gairloch with an estimated time of arrival of around 5pm.

“We’d like to apologise for the current poor quality of the broadband service but we’re aiming to restore normal service within the next couple of hours.”

Important coastguard and maritime radio services for the west coast of Scotland were knocked out and Stornoway coastguard was unable to transmit weather and navigation warnings.

In case of an emergency at sea, volunteers coastguards were sent to prominent hills with hand-held radios and mobile phones to relay any distress messages or situation reports with the main coastguard control room in Stornoway.

Coastguards radio systems’ were back on air earlier on Wednesday but the island’s  BT’s broadband links continued to be affected.

People paying fines by bank card at Stornoway Sheriff Court were turned away as their IT systems were down completely.

Many island businesses could not get on the internet to check e-mails or get in touch with clients. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Life Without Internet

The internet on the Island has gone berserk.

I've had big problems for a week or so but yesterday it disappeared.  I am not alone.  Far from it.  I went into The Woodlands (in Stornoway) this morning after having my fasting bloods done.  I wanted a bacon roll and a large black coffee!  And to use their wifi.  I managed to download my emails but then their wifi went down too.

Back home and I have wifi - just.  For how long I don't know so I thought that I'd post this so that you, dear reader, know why I am not posting and not visiting your blogs either as frequently as I would wish.

Add to that the fact that the weather here is as good as I can recall it in the last 40 years and I am  spending as much time in the garden as I can.  As I type this in my kitchen overlooking the bay with every window and door in the house open the temperature is just a whisker under 30ºC.  That's hot. 

Hopefully I'll be back again soon.

'Bye for now. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Solution - I Hope

Yesterday, and most of today, the weather was as perfect as it can get on Lewis.  The sun shone, the heat heated, the zephyrs gently caressed us and the midges, flies and clegs disappeared from whence they usually come.  All was well in the world - so far as the weather was concerned anyway.  So over the two days I've repaired paths, cleaned and repaired the UPVC porch and part of the study, cut hedges, weeded, and when I was sitting having a coffee break and indulging in some rare thinking I realised the solution to The Seagull Problem.  It occurred to me that the gulls dive into the pond and then need space to fly out of the pond itself.  So this should, I hope, be enough to thwart their efforts:

I will still have access to the pond and area around it and, hopefully, the goldfish will be safe.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

I Googled it.

The gulls are still making frequent overpasses to see if they can get at the meal they so desire.  Lazy creatures that they are: there's a whole bay full of sand eels a hundred metres away.  I decided that Jean (Jayview) had come up with the answer I would pursue.  Unfortunately when I looked at the practicalities of it for the moment it's on the back burner.  So tomorrow I will go and buy some net and make a frame to cover the surface.

When I Googled (should 'Googled' have a capital letter used thus?) I had an absolutely fascinating read.  I read that gulls don't eat fish.  I did, however, also come across a fascinating treatise by  Dr Adrian Lawler entitled Predatory Birds and Small Fish Ponds in which he concluded:
we are left with the following ways to try to protect our pond fish (methods that physically exclude the birds work best; killing or trapping methods are not listed because of protection laws):--stock out fish that are not easily visible in the pond (not brightly colored, or whitish, fish), --cut limbs that birds can dive from that overhang pond,--plant screens or other cover to prevent birds from getting (flying to, or walking to) to pond, --put fencing around pond to prevent larger herons from walking up to pond (also serves as deterrent for children), --make pond steep-sided and deeper than 18" at edges to keep wading birds out of pond, --put overhangs around edge of pond that prevent birds from getting to fishes that like to circle ponds at edges (overhangs should be high enough off water so they will not serve as fishing platform), --put a greenhouse around pond,--install bird netting (keep tight) to discourage diving or wade-fishing or bank fishing birds, --use decoys of competing large herons (to discourage other herons), --use various noisemakers (e.g., gas exploders, fireworks, or bird distress calls) (but not too effective unless noises made at irregular intervals, come from changing directions, etc.),--use fireworks for several evenings to disperse cormorants from their night roosts (can result in dispersed birds not going back to fishing at previous feeding sites),--use visual devices as foil and cloth strips, flags, balloons or objects with or without eyespots, irregular flashing lights, scarecrows, and artificial decoy hawks or owls, --use motion detector devices that spray water, or make noise, or turn on lights when activated,--avoid using logs and rocks, etc. around/in ponds that can be used as fishing perches,--get an aggressive dog trained to chase birds (this can be one of the best bird deterrents except when there are several ponds and the dog gets exhausted chasing the birds).
In the meantime the fish (not subtly camouflage coloured you will notice) keep swimming: